Delta Moon has been in Madrid a week now, and I’ve almost quit trying to speak to people in Spanish. It’s not that I can’t make myself understood. I have a hard time following the answers. And what’s the point when just about everyone in downtown Madrid speaks English?
At first I thought there was some giveaway in my appearance. Before I could say a word a waitress would ask, “Would you like an English menu?” A store clerk would say, “One euro and ninety cents, please.” How did they know?
Then I realized that while most people in the streets spoke Spanish, many were speaking English, often with foreign accents. People come to Madrid from all over the world. If they didn’t speak English originally, most of them studied it as a second language in school. When the Japanese, the Korean, the Indian, the German and the Swede need to talk together, they do it in English.
Walking among the downtown crowds, I started a mental collection of overheard English tidbits:
“We came from the car laughing.”
“Ten euros. Two shots. One drink. One disco.”
“Ten minutes. One girl. You don’t need?”
My favorite was a couple in the Plaza Mayor. The woman was taking the man’s picture. She said, “Try to look happy.”
He said, “I am, damn it.”